The In­dian jodi for 2017 Dakar

Col­lab­o­rat­ing with Speed­brain, Hero Mo­toCorp plans to go rac­ing with C S San­tosh

Evo India - - MOTOR SPORT - Words by: Je­han Adil Darukhanawala

WWHILE HIS FIRST TWO at­tempts at Dakar and var­i­ous other rally raids have come mainly as a pri­va­teer or with a satel­lite out­fit, C S San­tosh will be go­ing to Dakar with Hero Mo­toS­ports Team Rally as a fac­tory rider. The team is a newly formed ven­ture be­tween the world’s largest two-wheeler man­u­fac­turer, Hero Mo­toCorp and Ger­many’s Dakar spe­cial­ists Speed­brain GmbH.

With Wolf­gang Fis­cher at the helm of op­er­a­tions, the Hero Mo­toS­ports Team Rally will be look­ing to test the waters with a few ral­lies this year start­ing with the Mer­zouga Rally in Morocco slated to take place from May 21-27. Fis­cher has been lead­ing his Speed­brain team to Dakar for sev­eral years. His out­fit has worked with BMW, Husq­varna and the of­fi­cial HRC team to make Dakar-spec bikes with rid­ers such as Joan Barreda and Paulo Gon­calves pi­lot­ing the ma­chines, who are now the top-dogs of the rally raid world.

Speed­brain has also worked on mak­ing its own bike since 2013 and has pro­duced its Speed­brain 450 Rally which is a fully rac­ing ho­molo­gated ma­chine. The 2016 up­graded Speed­brain 450 Rally bike has a 4-stroke, sin­gle cylin­der, 449.5cc en­gine that can reach speeds of 170kmph. The en­gine is en­cased in a chro­moly (chromium-molyb­de­num) steel trel­lis frame made by Speed­brain it­self with car­bon kevlar fairing to keep the bike’s weight in check. The hu­mungous 29-litre fuel tank comes in handy dur­ing the long gru­elling stages of rally-raids where fuel stops are odds apart.

On the pi­lots’ front it will be In­dian C S San­tosh and Por­tuguese off-road ex­pert Joaquim Ro­drigues. San­tosh has been to the Dakar twice and has com­pleted it in his maiden at­tempt aboard a KTM 450. His sec­ond at­tempt was ham­pered due to elec­tri­cal gl­itches on his Suzuki RMZ 450. Apart from the Dakar, San­tosh has also taken part in the World Cross Coun­try Championship, fin­ish­ing ninth over­all in 2015. He also ac­tively takes part in the In­dian rally-raids and has bagged vic­to­ries at the Raid-de-Hi­malaya and the Desert Storm.

C S San­tosh’s part­ner is 34-year old Por­tugese, Joaquim Ro­drigues. “J-Rod”, as he is known in the rally world, has had sev­eral ti­tles and races in mo­tocross, su­per­cross and en­duro to his name in the span of his 15 years of pro­fes­sional rac­ing. It will how­ever be Ro­drigues’ maiden Dakar at­tempt the fol­low­ing year. ⌧

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